Two popular islands in the first ages were Javadwipa (Java) and Suvarnadwipa (Sumatra). Buddhist tradition which came for the first time to Indonesia was Hinayana (Theravada). By efforts of Bhikkhu Gunawarman in 423 AD, Buddhism was developed well in Java. Venerable Gunawarman previously was a prince of Kashmir Kingdom, which at that time was a center of Sarvastivada (Theravada). In 671 AD, I-Tsing reported that Bhoja (near Palembang) in Sumatra there were 1,000 bhikkus which were learning Dhamma as taught in India. In Sumatra, most of peoples Mulasarvastivadas and some Sammitiyas, which were sects of Theravada.

In Age VII, Mahayana came to Sumatara (Sriwijaya Kingdom) first and then to Java (Mataram Kingdom). Sriwijaya had a Buddhist University which had close relationship with Nalanda in India and Mataram in Java. Mataram was ruled by Syailendra Dynasty. They built many famous temples, such as Kalasan, Borobudur, Mendut, Sewu, Plaosan and Sari-Peak of development of Buddhism was in Majapahit Era, in Age XIV. Founder of Majapahit Kingdom was Raden Wijaya (Kertarajasa). The most prosperous and peaceful condition was when the King was Hayam Wuruk (1350-1389) the Prime Minister was Gadjah Mada. Sivaism was integrated with Buddhism to be Siva-Buddha. "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika", unity in diversity, was the slogan of Majapahit which is adopted as the slogan of the recent Indonesia nation.

Majapahit was the last Buddhist Kingdom. Its last King Bravijaya was attacked by his son which was a Moslem. He surrendered and changed his religion into Islam. From that time Buddhist hided, but they believed, as predicted by Sabda Palon Naga Genggong, the spiritual advisor of the King, Buddhism would revive 500 years later.

The dream came true. In Age XX Buddhism was starting to show up. In 1931 magazine of Mustika Dharma conducted by Mr. Kwee Tek Hoay was published. The magazine consisted of teaching Theosophy, Islam, Christian, Khrishnamurti, Khonghucu, Lautse, and Buddhism. Society of Sam Kaw and Association of Indonesia Theosophy studied Buddhism besides other religions. In 1932, the International Buddhist Mission for Java was founded in Jakarta with Mr. Yosias Van Dienst as the Deputy of Director General.

The most significant contribution to the revival of Buddhism in Indonesia was done by Venerable Narada. He visited Indonesia 15 times within 49 years, from March 1934, when the Venerable was 35 years old Thera, to May 1983, when the Venerable was 85 years old Mahathera, before the Holiness passed away on 2 October 1983 in Sri Langka. He introduced Buddhism in many locations, such as Jakarta, Bandung, Medan, Jogjakarta, Surabaya, etc. He planted Bodhi tree at Borobudur temple and Watu Gong Vihara in Central Java. The late Venerable Narada Mahathera was the pioneer of revival of Buddhism in Indonesia. (Therefore, for Indonesian delegates, the Conference of All Theravada Buddhist Universities in Myanmar on this March 2007 also means a celebration of 73 Year Buddhism Revival, which was started on March 1934).

Buddhism was recognized by the Indonesian Government. In 1959, celebration of Buddha Jayanti was permitted to be conducted at Borobudur Temple for the first time. The celebration was attended by 6 bhikkhus from Sri Langka, 4 bhikkhus from Thailand, 3 bhikkhus from Cambodia, 1 bhikkhu from Myanmar, and 1 bhikkhu from Japan. Many monks of Indonesian nationality were starting to be born and inaugurated both abroad (Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Langka and Cambodia) and in Indonesia, such as : Ven. Ashin Jinarakkhita (1953), Ven. Jinaputta (1954), Ven. Dhammika (1954), Ven. Jinapiya (1959), Samanera Jinananda (1959), Ven. Girirakhito (1966), Ven. Jinaratana (1966), Ven. Sumanggalo (1967), Ven. Subhato (1968), etc. They were members of "Maha Sangha Indonesia". In 1972, Ven. Jinapiya, Ven. Girirakhito, Ven. Jinaratana, Ven. Sumanggalo and Ven. Subhato founded "Sangha Indonesia" to avoid the involvement of monks in the conflicts of Buddhist community organizations, and stated that "Sangha Indonesia" was good friend (kalyana mitta) of Buddhists. However, in 1974 "Maha Sangha Indonesia" and "Sangha Indonesia" were integrated into "Sangha Agung Indonesia" as a federation. Now, there are three Sanghas in Indonesia, namely: (1). "Sangha Agung Indonesia", (2). "Sangha Theravada Indonesia", and (3). "Sangha Mahayana Indonesia". They work cooperatively in the Great Conference of Indonesia Sangha (KASI).

The development of organizations of Buddhist community was very dynamic and fast. Many and vary associations were founded, even some of them has already been far from doctrines of Buddhism. In 1979, their council was united into Indonesia Buddhist Representation (WALUBI). They were as follows:
1. Council of Buddhayana of Indonesia (MUABI / MBI).
2. Council of Theravada Buddhist of Indonesia (MAPANBUDHI / MAGABUDHI).
3. Council of Kasogatan / Tantrayana of Indonesia.
4. Council of Maitreya Buddhist of Indonesia (MAPAN BUMI)
5. Council of Nichiren Shoushu of Indonesia (NSI)
6. Council of Mahayana Buddhist of Indonesia.
7. Council of Tri Dharma of Indonesia (MATRISIA).

In 1987, Council of Nichiren Shoushu of Indonesia (NSI) was resigned from WALUBI, due to the unsuitability of its doctrine with Tripitaka/ Tipitaka. In 1999, Council of Theravada Buddhist of Indonesia (MAGABUDHI) quitted from WALUBI, due to opinion differences in placing the position of monks in organization structure. MAGABUDHI is the main supporter of the Great Conference of Indonesia Sangha (KASI).

In Indonesia there are Theravada Sangha of Indonesia (STI). Council of Theravada Buddhism of Indonesia (MAGABUDHI), Theravada Buddhist Women of Indonesia (WANDANI), Theravada Buddhist Youth of Indonesia (PATRIA), and Theravada Higher Learning Institution (STAB).

Theravada Sangha of Indonesia
In 1976, in Indonesia there were 5 bhikkhus of Indonesia nationality who live as a monk based on Pali Tipitaka. To fit with Vinaya, bhikkhus should be organized into a Sangha which consists of at least 5 bhikkhus, Theravada Sangha of Indonesia (STI) was founded on 23 October 1976 at Maha Dhammaloka Vihara in Semarang. The founders were Bhikkhu Aggabalo, Bhikkhu Khemasarano, Bhikkhu Sudhammo, Bhikkhu Kemiyo and Bhikkhu Nanavuttho.

Now, STI has 54 members consist of 8 mahatheras, 18 theras and 28 bhikkhus. Besides those, there are 9 samaneras. For 2006-2011, Mahasanghasabha is lead by Ven. Sri Pannavaro Mahathera, Therasamagama is lead by Dhammasubho Mahathera, Karakasanghasabha is lead by Jotidhammo Mahathera, Adhikaranasabha is lead by Sukhemo Mahathera, and Foundation of STI is lead by Sri Subalaratano Mahathera.

Council of Theravada Buddhism of Indonesia
Founded in Bandung in 3 October 1976 as Council of Buddha Dhamma Priest of Indonesia (MAPANBUDHI) by Pandita Khemanyana Karbono, Pandita Sumedha Widyadharma, Pandita Teja Rashid, etc. In 1995, the council changed its name into council of Theravada Buddhism of Indonesia (MAGABUDHI) to show its stronger affiliation with Theravada Buddhism. In 1976 was a member of Council of Indonesia Buddhism to represent Theravada Buddhism. In 1979 was a member of Indonesia Buddhist Representation (WALUBI), but in 1999 quit from the representation and supported the Great Conference of Indonesia Sangha (KASI).

Internationally, in 1990 MAPANBUDHI was one of the founders of Asian Buddhist Congress (ABC). Pandita Teja Rashid was the Vice President of ABC. In the General Conference of WFB in Taiwan on April 2006, MAGABUDHI is accepted as the regional center of WFB from Indonesia.

Now, MAGABUDHI has 1891 members consist of 57 panditas, 69 associate panditas, 363 assistant panditas, and 1402 upacaricas. They voluntary work to develop Theravada Buddhism in Sumatra, Riau Islands, Java, Bali, Lombok, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, consist of 93 cities/regencies of 16 provinces. For 2005 to 2010, MAGABUDHI is lead by Dr. Surya Widya.

Theravada Buddhist Woman of Indonesia
To channel the aspirations of woman, Theravada Buddhist Woman of Indonesia (WANDANI) was founded in Mendut on 19 December 1995. Dr. Mettasari was elected as the First Chairwoman. Now WANDANI is lead by Mrs. Susi Martani Japaries. WANDANI has 5 Provincial Committees which consist of 70 Branches and 20 Sub Branches.

Theravada Buddhist Youth of Indonesia
Theravada Buddhist Youth of Indonesia (PATRIA) was founded in Mendut on 19 December 1995. Now, PATRIA has 50 branches in 17 Provinces. PATRIA is lead by Mr. Tanagus Dharmawan. Internationally, PATRIA is the regional center of World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth (WFBY). In 2001, PATRIA conducted International Seminar of Buddhist Youth on Leadership. In 2005, PATRIA conducted Worship of Buddha Relics from Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Thailand which attended by the Holiness Sangharaja of Cambodia. PATRIA has voluntary worked hard to train youths to be a cadre for developing Theravada Buddhism.

Buddhist Colleges
There are 8 Buddhist colleges in Indonesia, as follows:
1. Name : STAB Nalanda
Founded : 05 November 1976
Address : Perum Pulo Gebang Permai
RT 13 RW 04 No. 107
Jakarta Timur - 13950
Phone : +62 21 70980951
E-mail :
Concentration : NON SECTARIAN
Program Study : Dhammacariya
Degree : BA in religion
Graduate : 160 BAs
Student : 150 students
Campus : 5,000 m2.
Principal : Jo Priastana, M Hum. (Jakarta)
Contact Person : Lauw Acep, S.Ag.
HP : +62 81 192 45 72
E-mail :

2. Name : STIAB Smaratungga
Founded : 02 January 1986
Address : Jl. Semarang - Solo Km. 60, Ampel
Boyolali, Central Java
Phone/Fax : +62 276 330835
E-mail :
Concentration : BUDDHAYANA
Program Study : Dhammacariya
Degree : BA in religion
Graduate : 160 BAs, 125 Diplome-3, 145 Diplome-2
Student : 210 students
Campus : 1,200 m2.
Principal : Venerable Bhikkhu Sasana Bodhi
Contact Person : Surahman, S.Ag.
HP : +62 81 390902048
E-mail :
3. Name : STAB Kertarajasa
Founded : 23 October 2000
Address : Jl. Raya Mojorejo No. 44, P.O. Box 39
Batu - 65301, East Java
Phone/Fax : +62 341 594781 / +62 341 594145
E-mail :
Concentration : THERAVADA
Program Study : Dhammacariya & Dhammadutta
Degree : BA in religion
Graduate : 69 BAs & 110 Diplome-2
Student : 104 students
Campus : 8,000 m² (College) + 27,000 m² (Vihara & Meditation Center)
Principal : Eko Legowo, Ph.D. (Hawaii), MSc. (California), MBA (Malang), Ir. (Jogja)
Contact Person : Dr. Eko Legowo
HP : +62 81 2358 7368
E-mail :

4. Name : STAB Syailendra
Founded : 15 January 2001
Address : Jl. Salatiga - Kopeng Km.12
Deplongan, Wates, Getasan
Kab. Semarang - 50774, Central Java
Phone : +62 85 228 888 286
E-mail :
Concentration : THERAVADA
Program Study : Dhammacariya
Degree : Diplome-2 & Diplome-3, 2007: BA in religion
Graduate : 63 Diplome-2, 5 Diplome - 3
Student : 65 students
Campus : 5,000 m².
Principal : Hastho Bramantyo, S.Fil. (Jogja)
Contact Person : Hastho Bramantyo
HP : +62 85 228 888 286
E-mail :

5. Name : STAB Bodhi Dharma
Founded : 05 August 2002
Address : Jl. Sawi No. 26
Medan - North Sumatra
Phone : +62 61 4559352, +62 61 77526380
E-mail :
Concentration : NON SECTARIAN
Program Study : Dhammacariya
Degree : BA in religion
Graduate : 200 BAs (merged from 2 colleges)
Student : 50 students
Campus : 15 m X 20 m, 3 floors
Principal : Harkiman Racheman, Drs., MA (New Zealand)
Contact Person : Harkiman Racheman
HP : +62 81 361507866
E-mail :

6. Name : STAB Maha Prajna
Founded : 07 October 2002
Address : Jl. Cilincing Lama No. 3
Cilincing - 14120
Jakarta Utara
Phone/Fax : +62 21 4414544 / +62 21 441 4544
E-mail :
Concentration : MAHAYANA
Program Study : Dharmacarya, Dharmaduta & Buddhasasana
Degree : BA in religion
Graduate : 200 BAs
Student : 200 students
Principal : Venerable Bhiksu Matra Maitri
Contact Person : Ven. Matra Maitri
HP : +62 81 514 406 869
E-mail :

7. Name : STABN Sriwijaya
Founded : 20 May 2006
Address : Kampung Tegal RT 02/01
Ds. Pagedangan, Kec. Pagedangan
Kab. Tangerang - 15820, Banten
Concentration : NON SECTARIAN
Program Study : Dharmacarya, Dharmaduta, Buddhology and Pandita (Priest)
Degree : BA in religion
Principal : Setia Dharma, SH. MM.
Contact Person : Setia Dharma
HP : +62 85 621 70985

8. Name : STIAB Jinarakkhita
Founded : 2006
Address : Lampung, Sumatra
Phone / Fax : +62 721 473 895 / +62 721 473 895
E-mail :
Concentration : BUDHAYANA
Program Study : Dhammacariya
Degree : BA in religion
Campus : 3 classes, 1 cetya, 2 student dormitories
Principal : Winantya Sudjas
Contact Person : Winantya Sudjas
HP : +62 81 889 2782
E-mail :

Theravada Buddhist Colleges
Among 8 Buddhist colleges there are two colleges which concentrate their programs on teaching Theravada Buddhism. They are STAB Kertarajasa in East Java and STAB Syailendra in Central Java. STAB Maha Prajna concentrates on teaching Mahayana Buddhism. Whereas the others are teaching all traditions of Buddhism, including Theravada.

Kertarajasa Buddhist College was founded by Dhammadipa Arama Foundation and is supported by Theravada Sangha of Indonesia (STI) and Council of Theravada Buddhism of Indonesia (MAGABUDHI).

Vision: To be the center of excellence for religiosity and professionality of Indonesian Buddhist human resources based on Pali Tipitaka.

Mission: (a). Developing Tri Dharma of Higher Learning Institute, namely: Education, Research, and Community Service, and (b). Developing utilization of Buddha Dhamma as way of thinking and way of life of the nation.

Objective: To prepare qualified personnels of Buddha Dhamma Teacher (Dhammacariya) and Buddha Dhamma Extensionist (Dhammaduta).

Condition and situation of the college are as follows:
Strength: (a). Climate, transportation and community are conducive. (b). Located on central of higher learning institutes, such as Brawijaya University, Malang University, Muhammadiyah University, Islam University, Christian Theologia College, Agriculture Extension College, etc. (c). College campus is in one complex with Dhammadipa Arama Monastery in 3.5 ha of land, so that could synergize utilization of the existing facilities, such as Uposathagara, Dhammasala, Kuthis, Pagoda, Meditation Center, Museum, Library, Class Building and Conference Building both for Monastery needs and for College needs.

Opportunity: (a). Kertarajasa is the only Buddhist higher learning institute in eastern part of Indonesia. (b). There is a Government's regulation that teaching religion in public schools should be done by teacher who has the same religion with the taught students. It means that the Government needs many additional teachers of Buddhism. (c). The attention of community to Dhamma TV, a television broadcasting of Dhamma, which was founded by Samanggi Viriya Foundation and is supported by Theravada Sangha of Indonesia and located near campus of Kertarajasa, is increasing.

So that it could be utilized by Kertarajasa as a learning tool.

Weakness: (a). Quality of lectures is still low. (b). Research and training activity are still rare. (c). After-class activity of students has not been organized yet. (d.) Mobility, administration facility, and financial source are still very limited.

Threat: (A). Financial background of the students are mostly poor, so that they could not afford their cost of study by themselves without donation support. (b). Accreditation by Government needs requirements which could not be realized without international help, such as requirement that every Buddhist should have at least two lectures who has MA degree in Buddhist science.

Based on the SWOT analysis, for realizing its vision STAB Kertarajasa needs international help on as follows:
1. Improvement of lecturer quality by training and degree program in abroad Buddhist University.
2. Funds for joined research.
3. Development of Computer Center.
4. Development of Language & Culture Training Laboratory (Pali, English, Indonesian, Mandarin & Javanese).
5. Development of Student Center.
6. Student exchange with abroad Buddhist University.
7. Improvement of dhamma television broadcasting, both for facilities and for broadcasting materials.
8. Improvement of mobility and administration facilities.
Syailendra Buddhist College was founded by Samma-sambodhi Foundation and is supported by Theravada Sangha of Indonesia (STI) and Council of Theravada Buddhism of Indonesia (MAGABUDHI).

Vision: To be a leading and well-known Buddhist College which oriented to religion, nation and state based on Indonesian Five Principle "Pancasila".

Mission: (a). To participate in developing wealthy Indonesia, spiritually and materially. (b). To prepare self confident highly educated peoples. (c). To develop education, research, and community service in both general and religion, culture, art and sport for togetherness of prosperity. (d). To conserve Buddha Dhamma and to maintain good relationship with other religious community. (e). To produce qualified graduates.

Condition and situation of the college are as follows:
Strength: (a). Development of leadership, (b). Development of spiritual, (c). Development of entrepreneurship, (d). Development of art and culture, (e) Application of technology, (f). Journalism, and (g). Sport and health.

Weakeness: (a). Financial support, (b) Management capability, and (c) Human resources, which are still very limited.

Opportunity: (a) Service to Buddhist community and other communities in general as well, (b). Conservation and development of Buddhism, (c). Conducive climate for being center of excellent, (d). Cooperation with other institutes both domestic and international.

Threat: (a). Interest of learning to be a student is still low, (b). Attention of Buddhist community and organization to the development of Buddhist college is still poor.

Based on the SWOT analysis, for realizing its vision STAB Syailendra forecast activity needs as follows:
1. Improvement of human resources.
2. Improvement of facilities.
3. Development of Buddhist spiritual refreshment.
4. Fund raising.
5. Improvement of administration and management.
6. Training in computer and English.

Higher learning of Theravada Buddhism has started to revive in Indonesia. The development of its institutions is on the right track. However, to enhance the process of development, international supports from all Theravada Buddhist Universities are needed.



A kind of perfect knowledge

I was not aware that

I was not aware that Indonesia was also a Buddhist country and also was not aware that there were Buddhist school over there. I am really surprised that how did the Indonesians also became the follower of Buddha? I guess Buddha's lessons and followers is more effective then bible lessons and followers.